It’s a strange time in games, especially if the main platforms you choose are PlayStation or Xbox. Both systems have – despite often hysterical discoveries found on social media – many games to play. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X | S does not have, is an abundance of new exclusives for the next generation.
Microsoft’s system has virtually none, at least from a first-party perspective, but can keep players quite happy with titles on multiple platforms and the ever-growing Game Pass. On PS5, there are a small number of critically acclaimed exclusives, albeit put on with debates around prices, and Returnal is a good example.
Anyway, here we are close to the middle of 2021
The potentially most important point, however, is that the stock is extremely hard to find for the new consoles, and may remain so much of this year.
Xbox will have an E3 showcase – along with the newly acquired Bethesda – and will likely have Microsoft Flight Simulator, Halo Infinite, Psychonauts 2 and, well, anything else it can squeeze out in 2021. This is off the back of the relatively quiet first half of the year, remember, and while we have no doubt that both power plants will have a small number of surprises up their sleeve. , it will go down as a fairly slow first year – in terms of new software – for these systems; Today’s global circumstances have, of course, played a major role in that. The potentially most important point, however, is that the stock is extremely hard to find for the new consoles, and may remain that way much of this year.
Anyway, this is Nintendo Life, but we are only staging; not in a lame console war way – we think both PS5 and Xbox Series X | S are fantastic systems that offer something other than Switch. Still, in the broader picture of the regular gaming industry, this means something; Nintendo is still, as it was in 2020, well placed to capitalize.
Although Nintendo’s sales forecasts for this year are a decline on the Animal Crossing-driven boom in 2020, they are still very high. And why not? Although we sideline the rolling rumors (two years + about them!) About a hardware revision / upgrade, Nintendo’s momentum for the Switch continues to be impressive. The company has faced and will continue to face potential production challenges, like all technology companies, but with its established processes and user base it has been able to maintain progress.
This is also a time when the relative lack of shallow in the switch has also been an advantage. It is a hybrid portable device, so games reach 1080p and the expectations around visual fidelity and performance are appropriately modest. You will not see Digital Foundry break down the Miitopia port or count pixels in the New Pokémon Snap or Famicom Detective games, but these are titles that look good on the system and are typically Nintendo fun. Add to that the eShop gems and some very solid third-party releases – an obvious standout is Monster Hunter Rise – and there have been good things to play in the first half of the year.
As it did in the console’s first year, Nintendo mostly delivers a ‘big’ game a month, with Mario Golf: Super Rush and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD on the way soon, and the exciting Game Builder Garage arriving before both. It gets us to August and September, and this is where the upcoming E3 Direct really wants a chance to set the stage.
We already have Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl arriving during the lucrative holiday season, but there’s little doubt that E3 Direct will fill some other gaps; Nintendo often only allows a few months from the announcement to the release of various titles. For example, will there be other games to celebrate The Legend of Zelda’s big anniversary? Breath of the Wild 2 feels unlikely this year, we would suggest, but a smaller release or another ‘HD’ remake seems sensible. There are whispers about a new Metroid game, as always, but it’s probably an understatement to say that Metroid Prime 4 is probably still “one way”. But this is Nintendo, there will be releases that no one has really thought of yet, and although many people seem to want to be productive releaseers of trade secrets, Nintendo has managed to surprise us quite a bit in recent times.
Nintendo, as it has been the way since Satoru Iwata shifted focus with the DS and Wii, can deliver experiences more focused on smart design and fun gaming.
And again, these would mean that you have to spend for these processes and get rid of them. No More Heroes III is on many wish lists, that’s for sure, and there are more RPGs on the way than we dare count. And while Nintendo’s in-house development team will have endured the same difficult challenges and process changes as any other major studio over the past 15 months, most of them are not producing massive open-world games in 4K with a push to deliver extravagant images. Nintendo, as it has been the way since Satoru Iwata shifted focus with the DS and Wii, can deliver experiences more focused on smart design and fun gameplay, without the expectation of pushing technological boundaries.
With PS5 and Xbox Series X | S apparently trapped in a holding pattern while platform owners await the completion of their exclusive titles and struggle to even match the demand for the hardware, Nintendo has a unique opportunity to seize the day with the software. With a strong E3 show and with the ongoing logistical challenges that console competitors face, 2021 could be a new dynamic and dominant year for Switch.
We’re excited to see what the rest of the year’s schedule looks like that E3 Nintendo Direct has wrapped up. Let us know as always if you share our optimism in the comments!